VHS Transfer: Mainstream News Death Report , WABC-TV 630 PM, January 27, 1979
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979) was an American businessman and politician who served as the 41st vice president of the United States from 1974 to 1977, and previously as the 49th governor of New York from 1959 to 1973. He also served as assistant secretary of State for American Republic Affairs for Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman (1944–1945) as well as under secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1954. A grandson of billionaire John D. Rockefeller and a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family, he was a noted art collector and served as administrator of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York City.
During his 15 years as governor, Rockefeller doubled the size of the state police, established the New York State Police Academy, adopted the "stop and frisk" and "no-knock" laws to strengthen police powers, and authorized 228 additional state judgeships to reduce court congestion. New York was the last state to have a mandatory death penalty for premeditated first degree murder. In 1963 Rockefeller signed legislation abandoning that and establishing a two-stage trial for murder cases with punishment determined in the second stage. Rockefeller was a supporter of capital punishment and oversaw 14 executions by electrocution as governor. The last execution, of Eddie Mays in 1963, remains to date the last execution in New York and was the last execution before Furman v. Georgia in the Northeast.
Rockefeller died on January 26, 1979 from a heart attack. He was 70. An initial report incorrectly stated that he died at his desk in his office at Rockefeller Center. However, the report was soon corrected to state that Rockefeller actually had the fatal heart attack at another location: A townhouse he owned at 13 West 54th Street. The heart attack occurred in the late evening in the presence of Megan Marshack, a 25-year-old aide. After Rockefeller suffered the heart attack, Marshack called her friend, news reporter Ponchitta Pierce, to the townhouse; Pierce phoned an ambulance approximately an hour after the heart attack.
Rockefeller's remains were cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in nearby Hartsdale, New York. On January 29, 1979, family and close friends gathered to inter his ashes in the private Rockefeller family cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. A memorial service was held at Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan on February 2, 1979, the service was attended by 2,200 people. Attendees included President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Longtime Rockefeller aide Joseph E. Persico said: "It became known that Rockefeller had been alone with a young woman who worked for him, in undeniably intimate circumstances, and in the course of that evening had died from a heart attack.
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